From Hungarian immigrants starting the shop in 1948 to Lidia Trempe’s Ukrainian and Polish parents picking up the torch in 1975, Rudy’s Strudel and Bakery is steeped in Eastern European tradition. But you know that. You’ve already been wowed by its apple-filled paczki, potato and cheese pierogies and, of course, cheese strudel. Just like the neighborhood itself, Polish Village’s premier bakery is exciting right now because of what’s new and what’s coming. “Working under Michael Symon at Lola in Tremont, I learned how you can put a twist on a classic,” says Trempe. “We’re putting a modern spin on everything we all grew up with in Cleveland.” That means paczki gone savory — such as the sauerkraut and kielbasa Clevelander or bacon and egg frittata Breakfast of Champions — for Fat Tuesday and on special throughout the year. Pop-up shops bring pierogies to hip breweries such as Brick and Barrel, and a collaboration with Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream pairs paczki and ice cream on Dyngus Day. A cafe-slash-wine-bar spinoff called Township Six is even slated to open in the near future. Rudy’s isn’t forgetting its 70-year history. It’s just ensuring its delicious survival. “We’re just trying to pass [tradition] on to future generations by keeping it relevant,” she says. “Someone had to invent the cheese and potato pierogi, after all.” 5580 Ridge Road, Parma, 440-886 4430, facebook.com/rudystrudel
Our Pick: You haven’t lived until you’ve tried the Cadillac of cakes — the European torte ($27.99). This “seven-layer wonder” stacks chocolate and vanilla cake with buttercream frosting, raspberry and apricot filling, and smooth chocolate in between.